A lot of us skimp on fruits, although, along with vegetables, they are among the most healthful foods we can put in our mouths. Fruits are powerhouses of nutrients, in particular vitamin C, and are excellent sources of fiber.
There’s more. Depending on the type, fruit provides our bodies with vitamins A and E (vitamin A because many fruits are good sources of carotenoids). They burst with folate, lycopene, potassium, folic acid and even calcium. Eating them is a good way to insure you and your family get your fair share of flavonoids and antioxidants.
Fruit’s fiber, much of which is soluble, helps control cholesterol and protects against heart disease.
Hey! Why don’t we eat more fruit?
No reason to put it off any longer, especially now when the farmer’s markets and supermarkets are full to overflowing with fresh, just-picked fruits. Fill up the fruit bowl and encourage your kids to help themselves.
10 Great Choices
Here are 10 of the best fruits you can buy. There are others that qualify, but we have chosen fruits most available to the most people most of the time.
- Apples (lots of antioxidants in the form of flavonoids)
- Bananas (potassium, potassium)
- Blueberries (a very big deal when it comes to antioxidant power)
- Cantaloupe (very low cal; loads of beta-carotene)
- Cranberries (fiber and vitamin C plus they’re antibacterial)
- Grapefruit (pink is preferable for lycopene and flavonoids)
- Grapes (packed with flavonoids; the more purple the better)
- Kiwi (more vitamin C than an orange)
- Mangoes (25% of vitamin A needs, plus C)
- Strawberries (nutrient dense; try to buy organic)
To reap the full benefits of fruit, eat it in its most natural, un-processed state. This does not mean you should never bake an apple pie or pair strawberries with yogurt in a cool smoothie, but you should try to eat fruit plain and unadorned as often as you can.
While fruit juice is not evil, it is undeniably high in sugar than whole fruit. This is compensated for by fiber when the fruit is eaten whole. Despite its wallop of glucose, it is always better to choose fruit juice over soda or a highly caffeinated drink. It’s even better to grab an apple or a handful of grapes to eat whole.
Some folks worry about the sugar in fruit regardless how it’s served — and then munch on a cookie! Stop fretting about fruit. No one gets fat on a diet high in fruit, and in fact their bodies benefit from the vitamins, fiber and other healthful properties.
Your family will thank you when you begin offering them more fruit. As with anything that they may not be used to eating, it may take a while for them to get into the habit. Once they do, their bodies will crave the fruit — not the brownies.